Beware of the unicorn: Consciousness as being represented and other things that don't exist

Higher-Order Representational theories of consciousness — HORs — primarily seek to explain a mental state’s being conscious in terms of the mental state’s being represented by another mental state. First-Order Representational theories of consciousness — FORs — primarily seek to explain a property’s being phenomenal in terms of the property being represented in experience. Despite differences in both explanans and explananda, HORs and FORs share a reliance on there being such a property as being represented. In this paper I develop an argument — the Unicorn Argument — against both HORs and FORs. The core of the Unicorn is that since there are mental rep- resentations of things that do not exist, there cannot be any such prop- erty as being represented, and thus no such property with which to identify either being conscious or being phenomenal
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Josh Weisberg (2011). Misrepresenting Consciousness. Philosophical Studies 154 (3):409 - 433.

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